"They were walking down the street when they saw the robber leaving the store."
Translation:Ils marchaient dans la rue quand ils ont vu le voleur qui sortait du magasin.
Would the english sentence which translates as "Ils marchaient dans la rue quand ils ont vu le voleur qui sortait du magasin" not be best phrased "They were walking in the street when they saw the robber who exited the store", rather than the sentence given ("They were walking down the street when they saw the robber leaving the store.")
OK, so, since there is no way to report this issue to Duolingo I'm detailing the problem here in the unlikely case that somebody who actually works for the company decides to glance over here.
The English sentence is ambiguous. It could either mean:
a) that they saw the robber (who was) leaving the store, or
b) that they saw (the event of) the robber leaving the store.
The French translation corresponds to the first of these interpretations (a), even though I personally find (b) to be the more natural interpretation.
The problem is that if you ask somebody to translate the sentence from English to French, users will have no way to know which interpretation they should be trying to provide a translation for. It's annoying because they could have just used a full relative clause in the English sentence instead of a reduced relative, which would resolve the ambiguity.
You get what you pay for, I guess, but I'm sure glad I don't pay for this garbage.
I tried this too. I think the problem is as follows. If you say "ils ont vu le voleur en sortant du magasin", then its "they" rather than "the thief" who are / is leaving the shop. So fitting it together with the first part of the sentence gives something that just doesn't make sense.